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Anti-Defamation League denounces U.S. Amb to Belgium Gutman remarks attributing Muslim anti-Semitism to Israel-Palestine

Amb. Howard Gutman (photo: Getty Images via The Forward)
US Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, at a conference hosted by the European Jewish Union (EJU) in Brussels, Belgium, made a statement saying that there were two types of anti-Semitism: traditional anti-Jewish prejudice and a distinct strain stemming from the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The White House quickly clarified that the US condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, and Gutman expressed his regret that his comments had been misinterpreted.

In a letter to Ambassador Howard W. Gutman, Anti-Defamation League's National Director, Abraham H. Foxman called Amb. Gutman's remark "wrongheaded" and said that it "provides an unacceptable rationale for inaction" against anti-Semitism. "This assessment of Muslim anti-Semitism, and your attempt to distinguish it from traditional or classical anti-Semitism, is not only wrongheaded but could undermine the important effort to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe," wrote Mr. Foxman. "When one tries to attribute this anti-Semitism to outside forces – in this case the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict – one not only misunderstands the role of anti-Semitism in that conflict, but provides an unacceptable rationale for inaction."
Anti-Defamation Leagues' Rabbi Abraham Foxman

Mr. Foxman added, "Anti-Semitism, indeed Muslim anti-Semitism, was alive and well before the creation of Israel. Indeed, the extreme reaction to an independent Jewish state to this day in the Muslim world is connected to anti-Jewish attitudes that persisted for centuries. If the problem was that the Middle East conflict was coming to Europe, then Europe would be seeing attacks on Muslims by Jews, as well as Muslim attacks on Jews. Of course, there are no attacks by Jews against Muslims."

The League said that while it recognized his effort to provide an analysis of the new forms of anti-Semitism and to grapple with an issue close to his heart, the ambassador needed to "avoid characterizations that contradict efforts by the U.S. to dispel the notion that anti-Semitism could be rationalized in any way as an outlet for frustration with Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

In the video (courtesy Jewish News One), Ambassador Gutman says, "What I do see as a growing problem in Europe, as gaining much more attention in the newspaper, among politicians, among communities, among citizens, with a sense of alarm, is a far different phenomenon [...] It is the problem within Europe of tension, hatred, and sometimes even violence, between some members of Muslim communities or Arab immigrant groups and Jews. It's a tension and perhaps even a hatred largely born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian territories, and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East, over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem."

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday that Gutman would remain in his post. Toner said Gutman spoke as ambassador, yet expressed his own views. He declined to say if the administration disagreed with those views. The White House on Saturday condemned anti-Semitism in all forms.  Amb. Gutman did as well.

The ADL hosts its annual Dinner Celebration on Tuesday in Beverly Hills. We will give the ADL the opportunity to provide further information from there.

1 comment:

me and mr b said...

Palestinians as victims is getting old. IMO It is a too bad thing people allow themselves to be used as pawns and raising their children to hate. Islamic antisemitism when they can't even keep from killing their own is just sad. I'm so damn tired of the blood and violence. Israel is the only island of sanity in the whole area.